Easy Squash Casserole
Squash casserole. It’s another summer staple. But this ain’t your momma’s squash casserole.
This version is light, healthy, and low-fat. And satisfying. We promise you won’t miss that gunky canned cream of [something] soup, the gobs of cheese, the rich sour cream, or the buttered butter crackers. (I’m sure I’m not the only person who grew up eating casseroles topped with butter crackers that had been drizzled with melted butter. Gah!!).
This recipe is three ingredients. Yes, just THREE (plus water, salt, and cooking spray for your baking dish). Easy, right?
You can make this casserole with any variety of summer squash. We had a menagerie in the fridge, so I used yellow squash, green zucchini, and golden zucchini. You could use any of those individually or use a mix like I did here.
I’ve made this casserole many times, but I’ve never measured the ingredients. I finally got around to measuring and writing the ingredients down. Wow … when you cut up five squash, it yields A LOT of squash! I ended up with about 15 or 16 cups.
I also used an onion. I diced it up pretty small (but definitely larger than a “mince”).
Then I dumped all the squash and the chopped onion to a large pan and added about 1/3 cup of water to the pan to help the veggies start cooking. I cooked the veggies, covered, over medium heat for awhile (probably 40ish minutes). You’ll want to stir the veggies every 10 minutes so that you rotate which ones are on the bottom (because those will cook the fastest).
When the squash was *very* soft, I removed the veggies from the heat. Because there was a ton of water in the pan, I drained the squash and onions in a colander and then returned the veggies back to the cooking pan. (Cooked, I had about 6 cups of squash).
You need bread crumbs for this recipe. I didn’t have any on hand, so I made some while the squash was cooking. (And, technically, because I added vegan butter to my crumbs, I guess this recipe has four ingredients, but if you use prepared bread crumbs, or if you make home made crumbs with bread that contains oil, well, then, you’ll be back to just three actual ingredients).
While the squash was cooking, I toasted five slices of this bread in a 225 degree oven for about 15 minutes. So that they’d dry out evenly, I toasted the bread directly on the oven racks and didn’t use a baking sheet. (If you’re making your own bread crumbs, just use whatever bread you have on hand … white, whole wheat, multi-grain … any should work just fine).
After the bread was lightly toasted/dried out, I let the slices sit on a cooling rack for about 10 minutes so that they’d cool off without getting soggy.
Then I broke the slices into smaller pieces and put them in my mini-Cuisinart to blend into bread crumbs.
Since my bread was oil-free, I added a scant tablespoon of vegan butter to my bread crumb mixture and gave it an extra whirl in the food processor. I also added salt and fresh ground pepper to the bread crumbs. If you’re using seasoned bread crumbs, you may not need to add salt and pepper. You can also add herbs or garlic at this stage.
In the end, I had about a cup of bread crumbs. I mixed about 3/4 of the bread crumbs into the squash and zucchini. (Reserve about 1/4 cup of crumbs for the topping).
After you mix in the bread crumbs, taste your veggie mixture. Add salt, pepper, or dried herbs if you think it needs more flavor.
I cooked this casserole in an 8″ x 11.5″ glazed stoneware casserole dish. The size of the baking dish isn’t critical; just aim for something close. (I think my dish is a weird size). I lightly sprayed the dish with organic olive oil before I added the veggie and bread crumb mixture, then I topped the veggies with the remaining bread crumbs before baking.
Bake at 350, covered, for about 20 minutes. Remove the cover (I used aluminum foil) and bake, uncovered, for an additional 20 minutes.
Here’s what it looks like finished.
Most recently, we enjoyed this casserole with pink-eye peas, brown rice, fresh corn, and our tomatoes.
Leftovers re-heat well. (I usually reheat in a glass container in a 350 degree oven). It’s also worth noting that this recipe is easily halved or doubled. And you can play with the quantity of bread crumbs. I think 1 cup crumbs to 6 cups (cooked) veggies works well, but this recipe is very forgiving, so feel free to adjust until you find the perfect bread:veggie ratio for you!
- 15 C chopped squash
- 1 sweet onion
- 1 C bread crumbs
- salt & pepper to taste
- organic olive oil spray
- Preheat oven to 350.
- Cut your squash. I started with 5 squash and ended up with 15-16 cups of chopped veggies. (I cut them in 1/2 lengthwise and then cut those into about 1/2 inch slices).
- Dice the onion and add it to the squash in a large sauce or saute pan.
- Add about 1/3 cup of water and cover. Simmer, on medium heat, for about 40 minutes. Stir frequently and keep covered when you aren't stirring.
- When the veggies are very soft, drain them (if there is still a lot of water in the pan).
- Add about 3/4 cup of the bread crumbs to the squash and onion mixture and stir to combine.
- Taste the squash and breadcrumb mixture. Season with salt and pepper if desired and stir to combine.
- Prepare a large baking dish (mine was about 8" x 11.5") by lightly spraying with the organic olive oil spray.
- Scoop the veggie and breadcrumb mixture into your prepared pan and top with the remaining breadcrumbs.
- Bake, covered, for about 20 minutes. Remove the cover and bake, uncovered, for an additional 20 minutes.
- If you don't have bread crumbs on hand, you can easily make your own. (See my notes and photos in the narrative, above). About 5 slices of sandwich bread will yield about 1 cup of bread crumbs. Any variety of bread should work.